Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 Ford Explorer VS 2015 Mercedes GLK-Class Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 Ford Explorer

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2015 Mercedes GLK-Class

Safety Comparison

The middle row seatbelts optional on the Explorer inflate when a collision is detected, helping to spread crash forces over a much larger area of the body and limiting head and neck movement. This can help prevent spinal and internal injuries. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer inflatable seatbelts.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Explorer 4WD’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

To help make backing safer, the Explorer (except Base)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Explorer and the GLK-Class have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all wheel drive, collision warning systems, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and front and rear parking sensors.

Warranty Comparison

Ford’s powertrain warranty covers the Explorer 1 year and 10,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLK-Class. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Coverage on the GLK-Class ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

The Explorer’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the GLK-Class’ (5/unlimited vs. 4/50,000).

There are almost 13 times as many Ford dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Explorer’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Ford vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Ford 12th in initial quality, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 14th.

Engine Comparison

The Explorer’s optional 2.3 turbo 4 cyl. produces 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 273) than the GLK-Class’ 3.5 DOHC V6. The Explorer Sport/Platinum’s standard 3.5 turbo V6 produces 63 more horsepower (365 vs. 302) and 77 lbs.-ft. more torque (350 vs. 273) than the GLK-Class’ 3.5 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Ford Explorer with its standard engine uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GLK-Class requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Explorer has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLK-Class Diesel’s standard fuel tank (18.6 vs. 15.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Explorer has 1.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLK-Class Gas’ standard fuel tank (18.6 vs. 17.4 gallons).

The Explorer has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Explorer’s brake rotors are larger than those on the GLK-Class:



Front Rotors

13.85 inches

13 inches

Rear Rotors

13.5 inches

11.8 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Explorer has larger standard tires than the GLK-Class (245/60R18 vs. 235/50R19).

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Explorer’s wheelbase is 4.3 inches longer than on the GLK-Class (112.8 inches vs. 108.5 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Explorer is 6.3 inches wider in the front and 6.2 inches wider in the rear than on the GLK-Class.

Chassis Comparison

The front grille of the Explorer uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Explorer offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the GLK-Class can only carry 5.

The Explorer has 48.7 cubic feet more passenger volume than the GLK-Class (151.6 vs. 102.9).

The Explorer has 2.4 inches more front headroom, 1.5 inches more front legroom, 6.3 inches more front shoulder room, .9 inches more rear headroom, 4.4 inches more rear legroom and 5.6 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLK-Class.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Explorer’s middle row seats recline. The GLK-Class’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Explorer’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLK-Class.



Third Seat Folded

43.9 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed


16.5 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

81.7 cubic feet

54.7 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the Explorer Sport/Platinum’s optional second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer automatic folding second row seats.

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Explorer’s cargo door can be opened and closed just by kicking your foot under the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Explorer offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Explorer XLT/Limited/Sport/Platinum’s exterior keypad. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system, and its mbrace can’t unlock the doors if the vehicle doesn’t have cell phone reception or the driver can’t contact the service.

To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Explorer has a standard rear variable intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLK-Class only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Both the Explorer and the GLK-Class offer available heated front seats. The Explorer Limited/Platinum also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the GLK-Class.

Optional air conditioned seats in the Explorer (except Base/XLT) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The GLK-Class doesn’t offer air conditioned seats.

Recommendations Comparison

The Ford Explorer outsold the Mercedes GLK-Class by almost six to one during 2014.

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